The Noble Springs Dairy farm is located just a few miles outside downtown Franklin on land that provides all the food for the goats. The Nobles say that’s what gives their goat cheese its unique flavor. Because most of the tour takes place outside on this lovely land, tour dates are subject to cancellation due to weather conditions. The website has a list of tour dates for the rest of the year, and the Nobles have made it easy to sign up online to get a discounted ticket price ($10 for advance tickets). Tours take place on Fridays and Sundays; if you’re familiar with Dustin and Justyne, then you know they’re usually working at farmers markets on Saturdays.
Now in its third year, Yum!East gathers more than 30 of East Nashville's favorite eateries and drinkeries to offer samples and small plates to attendees. The event is 21+ and no pets are allowed in the Pavilion, so please leave Junior and Fido at home. But the rest of you can enjoy food and beverage from the following list of participants:
The first one isn't really a hot-chicken substitute, but it does employ the same spice signatures. Lesley briefly mentioned Willa's Shortbread on Monday as part of her recap of the recent Southern Living food awards. Even though it was Willa's Tupelo Honey Shortbread Bites that made the list, their other new product is definitely worthy of attention. Willa's Nashville Hot Cheddar Shortbread Bites aren't fooling around when it comes to heat level. Flavored with local spice purveyor J.M. Thomason's proprietary hot-chicken spice mix, these bites bring the burn. As a snack along with a cold beer, they offer a heat that builds over time, just like a great hot-chicken plate. And like an order of Hattie B's, as the burn intensifies, you'll only want more.
Now don't get me wrong, these aren't Prince's hot or anything. I'd put them at a medium level at most hot-chicken emporiums, but they beat the hell out of anything Frito Lay would label as EXTREME!! (Emphasis definitely theirs, not mine.) You can find Willa's at many retail outlets around Nashville or buy them directly from the company's website.
But shortbread is not really chicken, so the quest continues to make your own at home. The big news is that now there is at least a viable shortcut on the path to home hot-chicken nirvana. In my past attempts, I've always come back to this Bites post where Justin Jones shared his recipe from the first Amateur Hot Chicken Cooking Contest at the Music City Hot Chicken Festival. Although there are many different ways to fire up your chicken, I've always believed that a lard-based paste applied after frying was the best way to create an honest homage to the original at Prince's.
This is not to say that Springer Mountain is a small operation. It provides chicken to several large regional and national restaurant chains as well as an impressive list of Nashville-area eateries. Springer Mountain products are also available at many local grocery stores, albeit at higher prices because of the company's commitment to smaller-scale sustainable practices.
I've had the opportunity to visit a few Springer Mountain facilities and was impressed by their operations. Contracting with many small farms in North Georgia, the company controls all the poultry feed that is distributed to the chicken houses and employs a modern lab to check on conditions at the farms and the health of their chickens. Without the use of antibiotics, diseases can tear through a henhouse and decimate a flock, so it's important to stay on top of these details. But it's still a chicken house, so I can personally attest to the fact that you probably wouldn't want to spend a vacation day walking around in one.
Springer Mountain's commitment to the Nashville community goes farther than just providing protein. They have formed a Chefs' Council of notable Nashville restaurateurs and put on regular educational and networking events. Earlier this spring, they called together the council for a chance to exchange ideas and enjoy a meal prepared by chef Duane Nutter of Atlanta's One Flew South. After a networking reception (happy hour), the chefs enjoyed a presentation by the Lee Brothers out of Charleston, S.C. James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee put on a "cookbook boot camp" every year for chefs who need advice getting started on their own books.
If you missed the celebration (sorry!), fret not; the estate offers tours of the winery, tastings and special events on a regular basis. Throughout the summer, you can even get in on a grape stomp! Tickets to visit the Biltmore Estate include admission to the winery, which offers an impressive list of varietals, with new wines introduced regularly. One of the newest that’s just perfect for our unseasonably warm weather right now is the Biltmore Estate Riesling, which is semisweet and crisp with just a touch of spice.
A visit to the Biltmore Estate isn't the only reason to visit Asheville. Along with the natural beauty of the North Carolina mountains, Asheville is a destination for food, wine and beer lovers. Every time another friend of mine visits, I kick myself for not having planned my own trip. I’ve heard it’s a vegetarian paradise, but it's definitely welcoming to people who like all kinds of food. You can rely on the recommendations of friends for your own itinerary or join up with one of the tours. Eating Asheville, a guided walking food tour and Brew-ed, led by certified Cicerones (beer experts), are good places to start.
Asheville also has a number of festivals and events coming up this summer. It’s a hive of activity for honey making, which is celebrated in next month’s Asheville Pollination Celebration and August’s Sourwood Honey Festival in nearby Black Mountain. There’s even a meadery.
For more information on all the things to eat and drink in the area, visit the Foodtopia section of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
Kopperud and Dolan know the neighborhood well from their experience owning Mafiaoza's next door, and they also knew they wanted to create a great bar for their neighbors. They brought in a creative team of general manager Matt Buttell and "creative director" Gary Hayward to develop a bar program that revolves around what they intend to be the largest and deepest whiskey library in town, and a menu of inventive cocktails with an element of fun. Embers also wants to make sure nobody has to wait too long to get a proper cocktail, so they have developed recipes that can be batched before each shift to ensure that a drink can be ready to serve within four minutes.
The drinks are just a little kitschy, with names like "Lost in Mace" and "To Bee or Not To Bee," and that's part of what makes them great. They also use top-shelf ingredients, which is reflected in the $12 price for their specialty drinks. But that price is in line with other premium cocktail emporiums in town, even if you are paying a little bit for the "shaker show" at those other joints. For volume drinkers, you can order a "Shot Ski" with four shots of Jager, Jameson, Tito's, JP Wiser and/or Pennington's Strawberry Rye served on an actual ski for simultaneous shooting.
Intro calls itself "a school for entrepreneurs" and hosts a new guest chef every two or three months. The guests work with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ founder Rich Melman and chef/partner Matthew Kirkley to create all-new menus that literally convert Intro into a new restaurant that is reflective of each guest's personal style. From the theme of the food to the style of service and the soundtrack, each chef has control of the entire vibe during their period of residency.
For Chef Anderson's time at the helm of Intro, he is planning a "modern approach to French cooking with a deep respect for the classic technique.” The restaurant seats about a hundred patrons, and reservations are taken 30 days out like at Catbird. Reservations are going fast, so if you'd like to take a little culinary road trip to see what Anderson has been up to, you can start stalking Intro's reservation site. Anderson's residency began last week and will continue through July. If you want to check out his menu, you can find it here. The price point for Anderson’s menu is $75 to $95 (excluding tax and gratuity), and wine pairings are available for an additional $65.
Want to submit your shots? Here's what you need to know:
• You must go to scenephotocontest.com to submit your photos
• Submissions will be accepted until June 4
• Each submission costs $5
You can submit as many as five photos that speak to your life in Nashville. Participants must live in, and photos must be taken in, Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, Dickson or Cheatham counties within the past 12 months (May 18, 2014 to present).
Look through last year's winners if you need inspiration, and read some more specific (and technical) details are below:
There aren't many good beer festivals that offer shade and air conditioning, so the setup around the concourse of the arena is a nice lagniappe.
There are several different ticketing options, with pricing that changes after May 31 and then again at the door for the walk-up crowd. Study the list below:
The local companies that made it on the list are Willa’s Shortbread Tupelo Honey Shortbread Bites and Belle Meade Bourbon’s Sherry Cask Finish. Willa’s Shortbread has been producing shortbread bites in Madison since 2006 and has a large selection of flavors aside from the Tupelo Honey. The company recently introduced a new flavor, Nashville Hot Cheddar, made from the hot-chicken spice blend created by local company, J.M. Thomason. The win for Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery’s Belle Meade Bourbon is just the latest award for the Sherry Cask Finish, which also won Double Gold from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year.
Winners from the regional area included Elkmont, Ala.’s Belle Chevre Goat Cheese Cheesecake; Walland, Tenn.’s Blackberry Farms Strawberry Balsamic Preserves; and salted caramels from Memphis’ Shotwell Candy Company. The entire list of winners is available online.
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